(urth) Ouen's Catherine

b sharp bsharporflat at hotmail.com
Tue Oct 17 06:05:50 PDT 2006

Roy writes

>I know of no examples in the books of any class other than exultants having
>khaibits. The maid who played Holy Katharine was not as tall as Thecla. The
>other women who are presumed to be khaibits -- the whores at the House
>Azure -- were likewise not so tall as their originals.

>Severian believed (or at least conveyed the impression of belief) that his
>mother was tortured to death when he was very young. That a dead woman 
>or would make an appearance, unchanged, from year to year is no less
>remarkable than that a khaibit should do it.

I'm not the first to consider that Severian's mother did not die shortly 
after his birth as most torturers' mothers did. My conjecture that armigers 
might use kaibits comes from the sketchy evidence of Cyriaca's preserved 
appearance and the Pelagia-Pega pairing.  I was foolish to forget the 
kaibits in the House Azure (at least Thecla's) are shorter than their 
mistresses.  Making Ouen's Catherine an exultant nicely explains Severian's 
dark hair, pale skin and height (Jolenta/Severa's height also?).

I just can't ignore the circular connection between four characters:  The 
woman in the coffin has dark hair and a pale gown.  The woman on the Path of 
Air ("Carina" in the Play) has dark hair, a pale gown, a dark (olive) 
complexion) and an oval face (like Pelerines) which tears at his heart.  The 
maid who plays Katharine has a dark complexion, a face like a pool of still 
water (a mirror?  oval?).  Valeria has dark hair and a face that tears at 
Severian's heart.  Valeria and the maid are of armigette height; we don't 
know the height of the other two mystery women.

So, perhaps this scenario works:  Exultant Catherine, with a dark, oval 
face, runs from the Pelerines, hooks up with Ouen and then is locked up in 
the Citadel.  Her kaibit is forced to remain in the Citadel and perform as 
Saint Katharine. The kaibit becomes married to an armiger in a tower off the 
Atrium of Time and produces Valeria.  After giving birth to twins, Catherine 
manages to escape her cell (with the help of an apprentice?) and travel the 
catacombs to the Atrium of Time where she is able to escape to the future 
using a time portal and the Path of Air.  However, she is forced to return 
the way she came and is given back to the torturers twenty years later where 
her sentence (Allowin's necklace?) is carried out just before Chapter 1 of 
Shadow opens.

Unfortunately, if Catherine is an exultant it excludes Cyriaca from being 
her sister, and thus Agia and Agilus from being Severian's cousins. But, 
what the heck. Maybe someone can reconcile all this stuff. Someday.


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